Sunday, November 10, 2013

Writing Update

Okay, it’s time for me to get back into some blogging. Sorry for the absence but shit has been happening and I just haven’t felt in the mood to apply myself to anything more than a few snarky lines on Twitter. I have, however, been steadily working my way backwards through the Penny Royal books, picking up mistakes and making notes on some changes I need to make throughout the trilogy. Currently I’m working backwards through book III.

I’ve had an interesting discussion about these books with Bella at Tor. While those of you who have read my books will know who and what Penny Royal is, others might wonder if the three books are about a character from the Herb Garden and ‘a very friendly lion called Parsley’ might be involved. So, in this respect I need to think a bit more about the titles. As I wrote the books they were simply called Penny Royal I, II & III, they then transformed into the Penny Royal trilogy with the titles Isobel, Room 101 & Spear and Spine. I’m now thinking more in terms of the new reader walking into a shop and seeing them on the shelf. Perhaps the overall title of the trilogy should be The Dark AI or, perhaps even better and more accessible: The Dark Intelligence.

Here’s a picture just to break up the text. Nothing to do with what I've written here (it's the Brass Man cover picture) but we don’t need much of a reason to look at Jon Sullivan’s work:


I’m still not sure about the titles of the individual books, however. The first one does mainly focus on the story of a character called Isobel Satomi, but is the title Isobel going to make someone pick up the book? Perhaps something more thematic like Transformations which are also integral to the book? Um, don’t know. This is still something I have to think on. Maybe the second book, to be more specific, I’ll call Factory Station Room 101. Anyway, it’s all going to require a bit more thought.

And now, on a final note: I must do some more video clips. So, if you have questions then please stick them in the comments below this post. You don’t necessarily have to stick to science fiction. And, if I don’t like your question, I’ll either ignore it or give a fatuous answer.

24 comments:

seskasenni said...

Do you often change the titles of your novels?
And is that hard to do, are you more attached to the first title than the following ones?

daniel ware said...

Personally I think that penny royal and the penny royal trilogy are fine as titles:

1. You are a known author and they will be in the science fiction section anyway and
2. Like the cover(s) won't give an indication as to the nature of the book if nothing else does?

I know some people are fucking dumb but really? If the brass man didn't confuse anyone, or the technician or the Skinner, I doubt penny royal will and the publisher should credit your audience with some intelligence.

/rant

Steve Gilham said...

Whatever the title, it's going to get different associations from different people.

For the trilogy as a whole, "War Machine" might be a valid title, given that that was PennyRoyal's function; though again that might give the wrong emphasis.

A title consisting only or principally of a girl's name might well come over as a steamy romance, maybe veering into "Fifty Shades" territory with the wrong choice of wording. And there's a likely significant segment of the market that would entirely misconstrue a title like "The Melancholy of Isobel Satomi" (you might get away with "The Transformations of ...", though).

People who don't grok "Room 101" are probably lost causes anyway.

Neal Asher said...

Good question seckasenni

I tend to agree, Daniel but *shrugs*

Steve, 'The Transformation of...' tends to give too much away.

Chrish said...

You may be an excellent writer but I still think you are no good as a graphic designer, the new background of your blog still hurts my eyes.....Yes,yes, I know, you think I'm blunt but you know me, rude foreigner :-)

House5150 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Craddmeister said...

For your video... Do you write to music? Do you use music ever when writing to put you in a certain mood?

Thenme said...

Mr. Asher, for what it's worth, I notice that the titles of your previous books are mostly one or two words and that the covers of The Departure, Zero Point, and Jupiter War have "An Owner Novel" under the title. So for me titling the first book "Penny Royal (A Dark AI Novel) could work just fine, but I am going to buy and read the books no matter which final titles you and your book editor agree on.

Thenme said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
joshua said...

Like many others I would purchase your book if it was called Book Title: The Wordy Subtitle. And when I recommend/buy books for others they trust my judgement enough to overlook whatever the titles or covers show.

But I do say something like Penny Royal: A Dark Intelligence or The Dark Intelligence sounds quite intriguing, even more so from previous knowledge of the character.

Keep up the good work! I am super pumped for this new series. Any more potential reasons to buy Asimov's with your name on it in the future???

Tasty Rabbit said...

Why does Tom Cruise keep taking roles for tall beefy characters ? The man needs stilts to look an Oompaloompa in the eye !

Tasty Rabbit said...

At the end of The Voyage of the Sable Keech segments of the dreaded hooder end up in the water on Spatter Jay . Might anything happen with these ? I'm thinking hooper hooders :)

Dragon is so unlike anything I've ever seen in a book or movie before . What was the inspiration behind it ? Why does it smell like cloves ?

Lord Weh said...

Have you ever finished writing a book and been stuck for what to do next? If so... What do you do to get your thoughts flowing?

Steve Hick said...

OK can't wait, what is the estimated publication date for these? In UK or US?

Sandra Louise said...

Neal:

You've talked about how your e-cig has helped you kick the analog habit. And you've posted letters from your MP about their standing on the e-cig debate.

How about a video from you showing us your current line up of e-cigs and flavors and why you like those flavors.

And any e-cig related rant, er comment, you want to do, of course. Not like you would need much encouragement in that area.

Conan the Librarian™ said...

Super duper hooper hooders.

I'll get my coat.

James Hart said...

Hi Neal,

Do you have any plans to create any more universes for any future novel length works?

Also, do you think we are currently heading more towards a Polity-like or Owner-like future?

Andrew said...

I like the names as they are, it's good to move away from the normal sci-fi naming rules one in a while. You could think of it as something that sets you arrive from the rest.

As you have mostly completed all of the books will they still be released on a yearly basis? Spreading the books over a 2 or 3 year period is a long time for us readers!

James Hart said...

I think that "The Dark Intelligence" would be a great name for the trilogy. I also really think it will appeal to new eyes more than "Penny Royal". For the book titles I think "Transformations" gives of more of a sense of wonder than "Isobel" does.

It's just how I see things of course.

Jeff Brady said...

dark AI, Fractured Maniac, Hell - Call it THIS GUY IS BUYING GAY PORN in huge block letters - just get a copy into my hands soon!!! :)

eva05 said...

I for one have been waiting for this series since you announced it. I absolutely love the war drones and while I have enjoyed the Owner series, I have re-read Orbus, The Technician and the Cormac books several times between then and now :)

eva05 said...

I for one have been waiting for this series since you announced it. I absolutely love the war drones and while I have enjoyed the Owner series, I have re-read Orbus, The Technician and the Cormac books several times between then and now :)

Unknown said...

How will this trilogy be released? I'm hoping you are not planing on taking an extended holiday and releasing one a year? I need more Neal Asher on my shelves, and Jupiter War just made me lust after the Penny Royal ones even more...

vaudeviewgalor raandisisraisins said...

Dark Intelligence seems like something too good of a title to have not been used already. auto win. maybe the CIA have some matte black urchin assassin. if you know about it, you're probably dead.